At the start of every year, I get a handy reminder from my most successful clients that what we do in the first days of the year matters… extraordinarily so.
Without fail, the most successful entrepreneurs I speak to all perform a precise, mindful and intentional planning ritual sometime around the holidays.
Astronomically successful entrepreneurs treat the New Year as a sacred ritual.
This isn’t just a matter of setting a few goals, or journaling. They get a serious head start by taking advantage of the start of the year to reflect and plan ahead with a precise formula.
These people all have their own personal twist on the process BUT – just like how the fundamentals of a stellar business plan never change – the same fundamental puzzle pieces of good annual planning are all present at the meta-level.
One of my clients gets weird in the woods – they go out to a cabin to be totally alone.
Another spends a ton of time with close family, sharing aspirations and goals.
Another builds spreadsheets.
All of them are committed to their ritual. And underneath that ritual are the three crucial meta-principles that you can use to get a serious advantage on the next 365 days.
Principle 1: Intelligent Reflection
So many people assume that the new year should only be about looking optimistically ahead.
This is a mistake.
Believe this and you miss the biggest opportunity of all:
Without fail, the top 1% of entrepreneurs carefully consider the year that’s been.
By following a precise formula for mindful retrospection, these entrepreneurs immunize themselves from a dark tendency in the heart of all business owners…
We’re ruthless with ourselves.
I am. You are.
Your expectations for yourself are higher than anyone else could imagine.
Even when you do amazing well, you’re hungry for more. You have the capacity to be extraordinarily hard on yourself. An entrepreneur's internal dialogue on a bad day… would send shivers down the average 9-to-5er’s spine.
This is why an annual pause for intelligent reflection is so crucial.
If you flub it, you’ll enable a ghastly tendency to discount your own achievements and successes – minimizing or forgetting them – that’ll simply vaporize your self esteem.
You’ll be consumed by thoughts that you’ve not accomplished enough, haven’t moved fast enough, or grown enough.
The net outcome? A pervading sense of hopelessness. Starting to feel like this whole business thing is a mistake. Feeling lost.
It’s not just reflecting on the good stuff, either. You also need Intelligent Reflection to look critically at mistakes you’ve made.
Entrepreneurs DO tend to minimize their past wins, but half the reason you need to positively remember the good stuff is so you can find the strength to recollect, examine, and learn from the bad.
You need to reflect on the wins and do a post-mortem on the mistakes you’ve made. The cost of missing that last part is tremendous: You’ll keep making the same mistakes without learning.
Ever feel like you’re hitting your head against a brick wall?
Or maybe just sitting with the same sensation of “stuck-ness” – like a brittle tension in your chest – for months on end?
Entrepreneurs who are stuck beating themselves up, and are ALSO failing to learn from the past… have just one problem: Intelligent reflection didn’t happen.
Principle 2: Artful Implementation
There is no bigger divider between the wannabes and the winners than this one.
Amateurs set goals for the year ahead.
The pros (meanwhile) are artfully designing implementation plans for their vision.
These entrepreneurs rocket themselves into the stratosphere, not just by setting long term plans or knowing where they are now in relation to the plan… but by using a strategy to map out all the steps from A to B.
The side-effects of NOT doing this are painfully obvious. Here are the top four:
You’re someone who gets that gut-clenching feeling every time when – throughout the year – the 1st of a new month rolls around.
Dread trickles into your stomach when people around you say things like “Can you believe it’s ALREADY March?!”
You have huge plans for yourself – big long term goals – but end up sitting down at your desk and defaulting to mindless tasks like clearing out your inbox.
You feel like whole weeks go by where you do everything (anything!) EXCEPT take steps toward your most important goal.
If you nodded yes to ANY of these, know this:
The way you set and plan the implementation of your biggest goals is fundamentally broken and needs to be fixed.
YOU are not broken.
You are fine.
You’re just missing a crucial, psychological planning ingredient that super successful entrepreneurs have in abundance.
Your annual goals need to be fleshed out into an actual implementation plan.
Think — less vision board, more how-to guide.
Principle 3: Ecology
Ecology is the relationship of one thing to another.
It’s harmony and alignment.
“Ecology” is at the heart of the most hardcore behavioral psychology.
Ecology is something that’s difficult to put your finger on, but your goals need it like a fish needs water.
Broken (or missing) ecology means finding out the ladder you’ve worked so hard to climb all year has been leaning up against the wrong tree the whole time.
It means finding out that “success” is not what you thought it would be, but being utterly spent and exhausted from getting there all the same.
A lack of Ecology in your goal setting will actually result in failure so severe you could never even imagine it.
I’ve seen people plummet into absolute hopelessness after chasing something so hard – and getting it, in a way – only to find out there’s no money, or no freedom… or no win to be had at all.
It’s a lack of ecology in this way that causes more entrepreneurs to quit – abandoning GOOD businesses with real potential – than anything else I’ve seen!
When your business looks so disgustingly trapped... that your friends and family are quietly thinking “well if that’s success, I’d rather work in a nine-to-five!”… you’ve flubbed your ecology planning.
When your business hasn’t given you MORE freedom, but has actually taken it away…
…Or you’re working three times harder than most white-collar employees for the same (or less) money… you’ve flubbed your ecology.
What is the ultimate cost of this?
Your unconscious mind will figure out that you’re not mentally aligned with your own goals.
It’ll learn that moving closer to your goals is making you miserable – so in it’s ultimate mission to protect your emotional health – it’ll slam on the brakes.
The motivation faucet will run dry.
You’ll feel apathetic toward your business.
Like your house is on fire but you’re just kinda bored of the whole thing.
The Revolutionary Results of Implementing These 3 Principles
This empowers you to spot massive opportunities that are EASY to take advantage of.
First, you'll realize you've cracked the code of success a few times already, you just need to do what works.
Second, you gain a new-found sense of confidence in yourself and your ability to know what to do!
Finally, you'll discover your strengths, avoid your weaknesses, and find that SUCCESS ITSELF becomes easier year-by-year, instead of harder.
Doesn’t it make sense that it should be that way?
It makes sense that the longer you’re in the game, the easier succeeding becomes.
Lack of Intelligent Reflection is the only thing that prevents this being true.
Artful Implementation Planning
This makes it so you never agonize over what to do next, but simply leap into action.
You’ll become the kind of person who can tell someone – anyone who’s asking – precisely what you’re working on TODAY in your life and business.
The people close to you in your life will be in awe of how you seem to be able to throw an idea, dream or vision out there, and then a few weeks or months later have something built.
Welcome to the ultra-achievers-club! This is where entrepreneurs look like wizards to the mere mortals around them.
This creates a deep, almost spiritual sync between your conscious mind’s desires and your unconscious values and drivers.
Your motivational faucet will be turned to full flow, but not in a way where you’re pushing yourself. Instead your motivational drive will be natural and inexorable, like a river rushing over a waterfall.
When ecology is in place, your unconscious mind KNOWS that what you’re pursuing is going to be GOOD FOR YOU. There’s no more internal struggle, just a clear sense of wanting what matters… and the fiery desire to do what it takes to get there!
Unlock Your Success Code: Decode the secrets to your entrepreneurial success with our Entrepreneur Personality Test. Discover what sets you apart and how to leverage it for your business.
Plan Your 2024 Like an Elite Entrepreneur With Our FREE Step-by-Step Video Guide
Each year I make a detailed 6-part video training workshop called “Head Start”.
These videos walk you step-by-step through the process of building a psychologically optimised plan for the coming year.
Head Start 2024 covers — in depth — everything discussed in this article, plus the exact goal setting and planning exercises I use with my private clients to achieve outstanding results over the year.
Releasing on December 20st, it'll be available for a limited time (over the holidays) and is FREE for all Commit Action members.
Our inner-circle customers leverage this plug-and-play psychologically optimised year-end ritual, and we’ve had some astounding results.
"Head Start is phenomenal — It's one of the most impactful things I've done."
Create Studios Digital Marketing
Here’s what you learn during the course:
The key concepts of effective yearly planning
The optimal step-by-step system for reflecting on and learning from this year
How to properly set your “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” for 2024
How to achieve alignment between your goals and your unconscious mind
The secrets of “ecological” goal setting
The best system for establishing quarterly goals
The science of the “12-week quarterly plan”
How to leverage visualization for turbo-charged results
As you work through all the planning exercises, you'll create an “all-in-one-place” goal reference tool, which you’ll keep coming back to all year.
It's not too late to sign up as a member and get access! BUT — this IS our busiest period, and our team of pro accountability coaches are being paired up with new members every single day.
As of publishing this article, we have 133 memberships left available.
NOTE: We don't believe in false scarcity and other marketing BS, but there really is a hard limit to how many members we can take since all our members get a dedicated human (pro) accountability coach. So once we're full, that's it untill we train new coaches.
If you want access to Head Start 2024 for yourself, check out what becoming a Commit Action member MEANS by taking a look at our homepage right here.
(The only way to access Head Start 2024 is to join Commit Action — the whole workshop video series is inside our member's only web app!)
Warning: If you decide to become a Commit Action member, your 2024 will be unrecognizable compared to your 2023!
If you want a taste of Head Start 2024, take a look at this quick video. The people you’ll see are all Commit Action members who came and filmed the live workshop with us live at a beachfront mansion in Punta Mita Mexico with our production company Watchpost, and that same workshop process (and exercises etc.) is what you get digitally if you join us:
The only way to get the complete Head Start 2024 training workshop is by joining Commit Action.